One of the best things about growing older is that you become pickier about the ways you spend your time. Eh, why spend hours hoping that a show/book/movie will get better? Enough. Time is better spent elsewhere.
The other best thing? The amount of f*** s one has to give about certain things decreases.
That brings me to Ant-Man, which I finally saw this weekend.
Ant-Man is the story of four insecure and broody men who behave like adolescent children. Two of them learn to grow up by the end of the movie, the third minor supporting character learns to be mature about his stepdaughter’s father, and one is killed.
It’s a decent enough movie. It lacks the wonder and surprises of Guardians of the Galaxy, the thematic heft of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it’s predictable enough that I turned to my son as soon as that particular theory was introduced and said, “We’re going to see that thing at the climax.” But it’s not awful by any means.
However, I’ve experienced this story a thousand times. It’s usually about a straight white guy who’s acted immaturely because reasons, makes a mess, and finally does enough to redeem himself—thus allowing the audience to cheer for him at the end.
Ant-Man has become my tipping point.
I’ve been on Earth now nearly 50 years and, right this moment, I’ve had enough of your man-pain stories, Hollywood, and you too, Marvel.
I’ve had enough of lovable losers doing stupid things but getting second and third chances because, wow, they’re so lovable and they really mean well.
Not to mention, they get the girl. Because that’s required right? Getting the girl as a reward?
You’re cute, Paul Rudd, and you did well with the part, but I have no f***s left to give about poor Scott Lang.
I’ve had enough of remote fathers who hit people when they’re pissed off because they can’t admit that, dammit, they’re grieving because someone they loved died.
As Rocket said in Guardians, “We’ve all got dead people!” Grow up, Hank Pym. You screwed up your kid, behaved like a child when she needed an adult, and messed up your company because you wallowed in your pain.
Am I supposed to be happy because you finally admit you were wrong after, oh, 20 years or so? I have no f***s to give about you.
I’ve had enough of whiny man-children who get pissed off because people didn’t recognize their genius or trust them. The villain in Guardians was an angry force of nature. A little sketchy, but it worked. The villain in Ant-Man is a little whiny snot who shouldn’t have been trusted with anything, never mind a company. He annoyed me so much, he brought the entire movie down. Seriously, that’s the motivation to murder?
My mentor didn’t trust or praise me enough. Oh, grow the f*** up.
As for the stepfather? Let’s have a vendetta against the man who’s the beloved father of a future stepdaughter that I’m supposed to care about. I have no more f***s to give about this penis-measuring contest.
Know what I could care about? Know what stories I haven’t seen often enough?
I haven’t had enough stories about mothers forced to be single parents because their supposed partner in child-rearing did a dumb-ass adolescent thing, and rather than being viewed as the bad guy for insisting this stupid adolescent man prove he’s grown up.
I haven’t had enough stories of *mothers* who run into houses to save their daughter instead of letting the studly man do it because, well, see above on the penis-measuring contest.
I haven’t had enough of daughters whose fathers shut them out for no reason and decided to follow in their mother’s footsteps by themselves, without the help of said distant father and immature male.
I haven’t had enough stories of people of color who are already disadvantaged and abused by our society, who come up with a way to survive in a world stacked against them.
I haven’t had enough stories where these people are the heroes instead of comic relief or the way to prove that our white hero is going to be good enough to save the day.
Marvel movies, you’ve had a good run.
I’m looking forward to Captain America: Civil War, about grown-ups dealing with problems like being good people brainwashed to do horrible things, and about a friend who helps because it’s the right thing to do, a friend who is formidable in his own right and not there as a rumble to prove another hero is cool.
But after that, you’re on notice.
I want something beyond more man-anguish and man-pain because the guys made bad decisions because they didn’t grow up fast enough but deserve second chances anyway because, hey, the potential for being a hero is already there.
Especially if they’re straight white men.
Give me a story I haven’t seen before.
Give me a story where I can give a f***.